Mental Health Reimagined: A Summit on Youth Well-Being 


Mental Health Reimagined: A Summit on Youth Well-Being  

Written by Binley Taylor


FosterClub, in partnership with the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), recently held a mental health and wellness summit for young people in and from Oregon’s foster care system and the adults who support them daily in Gladstone, Oregon. CASA workers, independent living providers, foster/resource parents, caseworkers and other professionals attended the event to learn about the impact of wellness on mental health. The event featured a diverse array of wellness activities, highlighting how different practices can enhance mental well—being.


From yoga and gym workouts to forest therapy, art, music, and creative writing workshops, the summit created a truly holistic environment. It highlighted the importance of integrating these practices into our mental health care routines.


A Holistic Approach to Mental Health

The summit demonstrated how various wellness practices can work together to support mental health. Attendees had the chance to experience the stress-reducing effects of yoga, the mood-boosting power of exercise, and the calming influence of nature through forest therapy.


Art, music, and creative writing workshops added a layer of self-expression and emotional exploration. The summit showed that by combining these diverse elements, we can create a comprehensive approach to nurturing our mental well-being.


Key Takeaways from the Summit

  1. Community Matters. The summit brought together people from all walks of life, highlighting the power of community in mental health. Engaging in group activities fostered a sense of belonging and mutual support.
  2. Integration is Key. The summit proved that incorporating wellness activities into mental health care can lead to significant improvements in overall well-being. It’s not about choosing just one practice, but rather finding a balance that works for the individual.
  3. Wellness is for Everyone. The summit showed that wellness practices are accessible and beneficial for all, regardless of age or background. It’s about finding what resonates with you and making it a part of your life.


Informing the Work of the National Center

The insights gained from the summit support the goals and objectives of the Center. By integrating wellness practices into its training and support programs, the Center has the ability to affect how mental health services can affect youth, families, and the system as a whole.


The Center can draw on the summit’s success to develop holistic programs, offer evidence-informed training, and foster community and peer support networks. By doing so, the Center, in partnership with selected sites, will build stronger, more resilient mental health systems that truly meet the needs of those they serve.


Additionally, the Center’s commitment to providing equitable mental health services around adoption competencies is crucial. By engaging youth and families directly, the Center ensures that their voices and experiences shape the development and implementation of these services. This approach not only promotes equity but also enhances the effectiveness of mental health interventions by tailoring them to the unique needs of those who have directly experienced the system.



The Mental Health Reimagined summit was a powerful testament to the transformative potential of wellness in mental health. It showed us that by embracing a holistic approach, we can contribute to a brighter, healthier future for ourselves and the communities we serve.


As the Center moves forward with its work, inspiration can be pulled from this event or others that are similar. By integrating wellness practices and building bridges between systems of care, the Center has the opportunity to make a profound difference in the lives of countless youth and families across the country. The Center’s focus, providing technical assistance to states, ensures that these holistic and equitable mental health services are accessible and impactful. Engaging youth and families in this process guarantees that the support provided is both relevant and effective, fostering a stronger, more supportive environment for all.

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